Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reasons to do Right and not Rebel...

Romans 13:1-5 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 
As we seek to be members of Christ's body, we will hear other voices demanding obedience - sometimes competing, sometimes complimenting one another, and sometimes we're not sure.  The starting point must be that God has ordained human government, be it political or religious, and He has done so to maintain order.  If our basic approach is to obey, first God, and then earthly leaders, we will be in a position to know when they conflict and act accordingly.  We don't just want to avoid being punished for doing the wrong thing; we want to have confidence knowing what we have done in the right thing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Looking both ways...

Romans 14:19-23 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. 
From the earliest age we are told to look both ways before we cross the street.  The same is true for any decision we make about our behavior - we need to look inside to the core convictions we have, and we must look outside to the impact our choices have on others.  The first is truly the hardest.  When we look within, we often take just a glance to see what our conscience says about some act.  The conscience is not always right; it has been affected by the fall.  So in looking within, we also need to look in the mirror of the Word of God, allow the Holy Spirit to transform our minds and the way we think about things, and ask if that action is Christ-like.  Even when we do all of the above, and find the "all-clear" sign, we cannot simply do whatever we want with a clear conscience if it is detrimental to a brother or sister in Christ. We must not live selfishly.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two ways to make a mess...

Romans 14:13-18 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 
In the big picture here, Paul is talking about the transformation process into Christlikeness (beginning in chapter 12).  He wants to use each one of us to minister to one another and build up the whole body.  But that is not always easy.  We all still struggle with our own sins; we all have our own opinions; we all easily fall back into that comparison game.  Let us not throw those stumbling blocks in each other's way - by judging others by our extra-biblical convictions, or by living selfishly, doing those things which are in themselves not sinful, but which we know offend a brother or sister in Christ and stunt their growth.  Let us live in love to serve one another and become more like Him.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Romans 14:10-12 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,‘every knee will bow before me;every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 
As Paul is working through the struggles we have balancing our personal convictions with one another's imperfections, he warns us to stop trying to take the place of God. Whereas we have the responsibility to exhort one another to holiness and Christ-like living, it is God alone who has the authority to judge.  When we get into a debate with one another and start pointing at one another, we need to pause and look up.  While we are judging one another, the One True Judge is watching and listening to every word we say, and He sees deeper still, to the motives of our hearts.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Convictions and Community in Christ

Romans 14:5-9 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
So, we live in community with other believers who have differing convictions about certain activities.   For these particular people it was things like eating food sacrificed to idols - to eat or not to eat. Or whether to celebrate certain holidays - be they the old Jewish celebrations or the pagan holidays.  How do we live as new believers in an old sinful world? We will not always agree. But we must always go back to this: our lives are not our own.  We have been bought with a price; we belong to Christ, so whatever decisions and convictions we have must go back to Him, not just to please ourselves.  We must not only think about what is best for me, but for His Body, the Church.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Challenges of Community...

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
(Romans 14:1-4 ESV)
When God brings us together as the Church, each of us seeking to become holy vessels and servants who glorify Him, we will doubtlessly have differing opinions on what that holiness looks like. When your personal convictions and mine come face to face with one another, they will not always agree.  What do we do then?  We go back to the core issues of community in chapter 12: We are the body.  It does no good to beat up other members of our body. We need to trust in the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells both me and the other person to work in both of us to help us see who is seeing things clearly, or if this is just a personal conviction or restraint God has for me and not for everyone. Community is not always easy, but it is the way God has of developing us all in the real world. May we receive the changes He wants to make through the input of others, and may we be loving and gracious instruments who allow Him to use us, even when we are not well-received at first.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Amen and Amen...

Revelation 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. 
As I read these last two verses of the Bible, the words of the great hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" came to mind: "Strength for today and bright home for tomorrow..."  That is what we have in Christ, in His church.  We are given the great hope of Christ's return to finalize His salvation, and meanwhile, we are given His grace to help us as we wait.  To these two things everyone in the Church, and all true believers in their churches can say: Amen and Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spiritual Stability...

2 Peter 3:14-18 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 
As Peter wraps up his letter, encouraging his fellow believers to stand strong in their faith despite any persecution or trial, keeping an eye to the future, he also warns them to not go whacko.  The only way to do this is to keep growing in our faith, grounded in God's Word, constantly looking to Christ.  As we do this, focusing on following in His footsteps, staying at peace with God, we will remain spiritually stable, and be able to help one another do the same.  It is when we allow ourselves to be caught up and carried away by fear or fancy that we lose our bearings and join the world of wackos all around us.  We are founded on the Solid Rock.  Let us remain in Him and Him alone.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Our Greatest need is...

Philippians 4:21-23 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. 
Verse 20 of this passage ends with Amen.  Then, as if he had forgotten something, Paul goes back to prayer again, sending his greeting and asking God to bless them with the one blessing he always asked for the churches to which he wrote: Grace.   We need the God-given ability to do what we cannot do for ourselves: be forgiven, love, serve, and live the Christ-like life.  May we cry out for and  be willing to receive what we really need today: His grace.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A well-seasoned church...

Galatians 6:14-18 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen. 
As we look at the blessings and benedictions Paul gives to the churches, we notice differences. Whereas the Corinthian church (which we looked at yesterday) had a tendency towards immaturity and license, the Galatian church leaned towards legalism and petty rules.  God has one main rule: faith in Christ to become a new creation.  There are no bragging rights except being able to claim God as our Father, and that is nothing of our own doing.  When we live by this rule, we have not only grace, which we have seen before, but peace and mercy - more spiritual seasonings that make the church be what it should be.  To hear that the Galatians were living this way would "make Paul's day." Just as the loose living of the Corinthians had caused him grief, the divisive legalism of the Galatians had caused him trouble.  He too wanted the peace of knowing they were at peace.  May God season us today with grace, peace and mercy.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grace and love...

1 Corinthians 16:23-24 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen. 
Paul has been writing to a church that gave him a lot of grief.  Despite all of his investment in them, and the many blessings God had poured out on them, they were acting very spiritually immature, fighting with one another, living for the flesh.  Yet, Paul loved them, in Chirst.  How could He still love them?  By the Grace of God in Christ.  When we truly experience and understand His grace in our lives, and truly want His Grace in others' lives, we have learned to love.  Do we want Christ to come in to their lives and transform them for their sakes and for the glory of The Lord, or to make life easier on us?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Now that's a mouthful...

Romans 16:25-27 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith— to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen. 
As Paul writes his blessing and benediction to the church at Rome, he summarizes all he has said in this one long run-on statement:  He has shared the good news of the Gospel of Christ, which had brought many to faith.  He now is asking God to bring that to full fruition in establishing them, making them strong in their faith, mature followers of Christ.  The ultimate goal, is that praise will go where it is deserved - the all-wise God who made this plan of salvation.  His design and desire is for us in the church today to go through the same process of salvation and transformation, bringing glory to God.  May it be so today.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Giving Glorifies God...

I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
(Philippians 4:18-20 ESV)
Our God is a giving God.  He gave us life. He gave His Son.  He gives gifts to the Church for our mutual edification.  He gives us above and beyond what we need and deserve to give one another.  Paul had experienced many gifts from God, including those from the church at Philippi.  He was blessed and gave God glory. But it did not stop there. Paul gave a blessing on those who gave, asking that they too would be blessed with the privilege of being able to see that it is God who supplies our every need.  It is not just having our needs met; it is also being able to realize it comes from Him, and giving Him the Glory He deserves.  We need to view gifts given and received as pleasing to God.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Prayer for the Church

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV)
I think Paul, under the inspiration of God said I well... I have nothing to add.  Praying for His Church, and ours, today.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fighting Fair for Forgiveness...

Matthew 18:15-20 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” 
One of the characteristics of God is His Justice, which flows out of His Righteousness.  He treats all others rightly, and has passed on this trait to those He created in His image.  Of course, due to the Fall, none of us possess that perfectly.  Having created the church, He also wants justice to prevail there as well.  He wants us as imperfect followers of Christ to gather together, and when we do, there will be conflict.  We will do and say unrighteous things against one another.  We will offend others.  When that happens, He has built into the Church a process to handle that, which will contribute to the transformation He wants to be working in our lives.  He has shown us how to fight fair, to pursue justice, to demonstrate His character to one another and the watching world.  That is true love.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Another creation to attack...

Acts 20:28-30 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 
Satan loves to attack God's creation.  He did it in the Garden - attacking man, the crown of God's creation, and the family.  He has done the same with the Church.  When God made His new creation, His people with new life in Christ, He also made the Church, His transformation station for continued  spiritual growth, and entrusted it to faithful elders to lead.  Here He warns them through Paul that the enemy is coming after them, and after the Church, seeking to tear down what God has made.  Just as we have been entrusted to care for the physical universe, we have been entrusted to care for His Church.  May we care.  May we be alert.  May we stand united in Christ.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Body by God...

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 
When God makes us new in Christ, He also makes us a part of Christ's body, the Church.  Just like He made us members of a family when we were born, He made us part of His family when we are born again.  He has created the Church just like He has created us.  In context, Paul is telling us we are all needed.  Any dismemberment or disfigurement or disease of the organs affects the whole body, not just us.  God made it that way, so let's not mess up what He made.  Let us function as His body, unified, caring about the other members, each doing our part.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Transformation Station...

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
(Romans 12:1-5 ESV)
God wants us, as followers of Christ, to keep on changing - to go through this transformation process of having our lives more and more become like Him and our livestyles become more acceptable to Him.  We cannot do it on our own.  Besides the Word of God and the Spirit of God, He uses the People of God, the Body of Christ,in that process.  Church is not somewhere we go, or even just something we do.  Church, the people of God, are a part of His process working in our lives. Let us not try to leave the church out of our lives.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Gift Center...

Ephesians 4:11-14 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 
What do you think of when you hear the "C" word?  In context here, Paul is talking about church.  Right of the bat, he says that God "gave".  Church is where we receive.  And, to be sure, we often think in terms of "what we get" out of church.  But maybe God wants to give us something other than what we're looking for.  He wants to give us what we need to grow up, be mature and stable, and to help one another do the same.  Every time we "do church", in whatever forms that may be, we should be like kids in the middle of a room with gifts, wonderfully anticipating what is in each box, filled with comfort and encouragement by the atmosphere of grace and security, prepared to go out and share some of what God has given us.  May we view church as God's gracious gift center, where He pours out His blessings on His people gathered together.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Our Calling: Be the Body...

Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 
Having explained the "mystery" of the Church, Paul turns to us and says: "Now be the Church God has made you to be."  The atmosphere we are to cultivate is oneness: a unity of spirit and purpose. we do this through the way we deal with one another: gently, humbly, patiently, lovingly, passionately, and dependent on the Holy Spirit.  May we prove  to be Christ's body as much on Monday as we did on Sunday.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Only through Christ...

2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 
What happens when we allow the Good News of Jesus Christ penetrate our hard hearts and trust in Him? A whole series of events: the veil that separates us from God is removed; there is a freedom to live life the way we are supposed to do; this transformation process begins that changes us from self-focused sinners to followers of Christ, becoming more like Him.  And we have a confident hope of spending eternity with God.  All this, only through Christ and what He has done for us on the cross, what He is doing for us now as our intercessor, and what He is going to do when He returns.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Once for all...

Hebrews 9:24-28 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. 
God's plans are the best.  He planned and created the world, and it was Good.  He has also planned and carried out His plan of salvation in Christ.  Rather than a series of continuous and repeated suffering for sin, Christ came and did it once for all.  Now we wait for Him to return and finish the plan.  The sin has been taken care of; He is now our Intercessor, and someday He will fully save all who believe, once for all.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Arrogantly exclusive, or extremely inclusive???

Acts 4:11-12 Jesus is“‘the stone you builders rejected,which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” 
No other name!  When a follower of Christ hears that phrase, he/she is moved to adoring worship. But when we make that statement to others, they may get defensive and offended.  How dare we say such a thing: "only Jesus can save us."  But notice that this name is given to mankind - not just the Jews who were those who initially heard these words, but Jew and Gentile alike, male and female, bond and free - no one is excluded off hand.  It is extremely inclusive, unless one choses to reject Christ, to exclude Him from his/her life.  Then who is being exclusive, arrogant and offensive? The one who needs Christ as Savior, but refuses to accept Him.  May we hear His name, Jesus Christ, and be moved to thanksgiving and praise that He has made known His salvation to us.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

So Great a Salvation

Hebrews 2:1-4 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. 
In contest, the preacher is contrasting Christ with every revelation that has come before. He is supreme in every way; He is the best there is.  The question is: "If we ignore salvation in Christ, offered freely by God's Grace, powerful enough to save the whole world, how in the world could we ever expect to be saved?"  The answer is: we cannot.  Therefore, we must pay careful attention - take seriously the offer God has made: believe, receive and be saved, or reject, be punished and perish.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” 
Why is Paul so excited, so passionate?  Because he has discovered the Good News of salvation that transforms those who believe.  He had spent his life trying everything possible to have a right relationship with God, doing all He could, but he knew it was not enough.  Then he came to faith in Christ.  He realized Christ has done what needed to be done, and by faith in Him righteousness comes - our relationship with God can be restored, and our lives can be lived in hope, with purpose.  So, when Paul says he is "not ashamed", he is emphasizing the opposite: he wants to shout it out, to proclaim to the world what he has discovered - or rather, Who he has discovered: Christ, our Savior.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Keep Reading...

Romans 3:23-25 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 
Romans 3:23 is the simplest statement of fact - we are all sinners!  Often, however, we jump from there to other scriptures, when there is a lot of truth to follow.  The grace, atonement, redemption, forgiveness and righteousness available to us in Christ.  The next verses have a lot of the rest of the story.  There is hope for us sinners, in Christ.  Don't stop reading, and respond accordingly...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Consider the context...

John 3:13-16 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
No verse is more memorized and remembered than John 3:16 - the statement of hope everyone needs and is looking for - we need a Savior.  But we can only understand this statement, like all scripture, in context.  Jesus has been having a serious spiritual discussion with Nicodemus, whose insomnia had brought him there late at night.  Jesus was putting together all the pieces of God's plan of salvation.  Simply put: we cannot reach a Holy God in Heaven.  As an old Christian rock band once sang: "We can't jump that high!"  What it takes is for God to come down to earth to us. And that is exactly what God the Son did.  We must first recognize our need, and inability to save ourselves, and then the plan and promise of God in Christ will make sense.  Does it make sense to you?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Faith is NOT foolhardy...

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)
If you understand that God created this world, you have come a long ways towards understanding life.  Not only do the facts of true science point that way (and they do); life makes sense when we have a personal Creator who made things, and made us, on purpose.  Creationists "get it." The pieces of the puzzle of life only begin to make sense when an all-powerful, loving God creates, sustains, and forgives His creatures.  He is no fool who understands this.